day 22 (9/23)
we started off in Parma and set off to find a UPS type store to ship some stuff home. we found a Mailboxes, Etc. we shipped home a bunch of high definition photo posters of Perugia that were given to us by Loretta in the Sister Cities office (maybe 15 posters). Paula also tried to ship home a box of souvenirs but it was going to cost $90 (that’s Euros). we decided to find somewhere cheaper; though, now that we’ve thought about it, that’s probably not a bad deal. ah well.

we then set off towards Padova. on the way, we stopped in Pozzolengo for lunch. Pozzolengo is where my biological father’s family was originally from. i asked my aunt Deb about her cousins in this town and had some first names. i asked around and was directed to head a certain way (nobody spoke English so it was difficult). after lunch we walked around and met the Brunati family — a delight group of people and these are my relatives. we just happened to find them in this town. they own a shop and also a big outdoor-type shop like a Home Depot or Lowes. Gino is the first person i meet and i show him a little family tree i had drawn on a napkin. he recognizes his mom’s name and his name and points to himself. i point to me and we give each other a big hug. Gino is my mom’s age, but he has a son my age who speaks a little English and provides translation. we talk about the history of the family and how the sister remained in Pozzolengo and 1 brother moves to Rio de Janeiro and the other moved to San Pedro (Los Angeles). this would have been my biological great grandfather. after a few hours, they gave us a ride back to our car, which we’d walked fairly far from. come to find out, my car had a flat tire with a little piece of metal sticking out of the tire. Gino Brunati jumped on his cell phone and 2 minutes later his son was there with a portable air compressor in his hatchback. the tire was aired up and Mr. Brunati drove off with my car and we followed in another car off to their workshop. they had the tire fixed and plugged within 5 minutes. it was amazing what they could do in their shop. a great bunch to meet and they wouldn’t accept any money for anything. what good fortune that came out of bad fortune. what a great little stop this was.

we then stopped by the San Martino tower, which we saw from the highway and was something we intended to check out. this tower is much taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa and it was open. we climbed to the very top . . . and that was no small chore. though, it wasn’t many steps as most of the climbing went round and round inside the Tower up ramp after ramp after ramp up. the top was amazing! you could see for 20 – 30 kilometers in every direction. JD was a bit nervous (remember, he wouldn’t go up the Leaning Tower), but he came around and started to enjoy the view.

next we were off . . . back to Padova as Paula has some work to do here with teachers. we found a youth hostel this time. they are much cheaper than hotels and we managed to get a private room for 4 people. a bargain, but it’s certainly not the high life. heh. we have a curfew (as if it mattered as there’s no chance we’d be out past 11:00 PM — heh). and bargain is putting it mildly; this place is cheap. however, there are no towels. you remove your sheet off of your bed and use that. hmmm. more to come from Padova over the next few days. cheers!